Member Post

 

I’ve been mostly just lurking around Ricochet lately, a consequence of traveling. Two weeks ago travel and allergens wore me out enough to allow for (probably) a flu, which was followed by the usual sinus infection, which was followed by the usual prednisone and antibiotics. But I felt pretty good about the flu because I […]

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Quote of the Day: Empowering the Poor

 

“Creating a separate set of moral standards according to socio-economic status is not an act of mercy. It is a crime against the poor. It is an abdication of our social duty to hold one another accountable. It is shameful that our self-styled elites are so afraid to preach the very secrets to success they so readily practice in their own lives.” — Arthur C. Brooks, Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America

It is a travesty that the Progressives, and some misguided on the Right, have conditioned those who are poor to believe their false doctrine. The poor learn from them that they are hostages of the culture, that they have little to no power to grow and improve themselves, that the white majority (substitute white supremacy) culture is determined to keep them down and impoverish them. I simply can’t reconcile the calls for compassion from the Left, with their arrogance about the ability of others to thrive in this great country. Their beliefs are so devastating to the soul.

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The Gnostic LGBTQ+

 

My lesbian friend told me that on Saturday there was to be a Gay pride parade on King Street between Foggy Pine bookstore and the Jones house. Reading about it in the local news feed, I didn’t agree with the narratives proclaimed on the Jones house steps, but I don’t begrudge them for staging the event. All people of religious convictions should take their best shot at winning their fellow traveler.

To sink one’s heart in the LGBTQ+ way of thinking you have to embrace Gnosticism. Gnosticism was a departure from Christianity that captured the cultural imagination at the end of the Apostolic age. John, the last of the Apostles, warned against this coming trend when he spoke about not denying that Christ “as coming in the flesh” (2 John 1:7) and arguing in his epistle that doing righteous deeds in the body does indeed matter (1 John 3:7).

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This is a fascinating article from 5 years ago in Christianity Today. I have copied only a few highlights from the article, but if you have not heard of this research (as I had not) read the entire article. I think you will be fascinated as well. ***** More

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Icon, Part 11b: Icon Types of the Theotokos

 
Hodegetria icon on the iconostasis of my own church

In Part A I gave an overview of just why Mary is so highly venerated in the Orthodox Church. In this second part I will show some of the major examples of her icon types, and what they each represent. This will not be exhaustive, of course, for styles and types have changed over the centuries, and some nations and regions have seen the emergence of different themes that have not gained as much traction in the wider Orthodox world. Each major type has a different message to convey about both the Theotokos and Christ (for her importance is a reflection of Christ), and so each will be found in a different context within either church or home.

There are certain common elements to how the Theotokos is depicted in all of her different icons. The first thing any viewer should note is that Mary always has three stars (or star-like flowers) on her cloak: one on her forehead, and one on each shoulder. The origin of this theme is so old that it is unclear, being even seen in early Christian frescos in catacombs. On these early pre-iconographic depictions a great amount of what is shown is symbolic in ways that later icons would not do – this was done at a time when Christianity was still persecuted, and was moreover spreading through people whose only prior religious knowledge was of the Roman pantheon. Keeping the artwork symbolic and somewhat abstracted both aided in its teaching, and in evading scrutiny when caught. In these early works, for instance, one will often see Christ depicted as “the Good Shepherd”, a beardless young man tending or carrying sheep. The three stars on Mary are likely a holdover from that time. These stars represent her past, present, and ever-virginity.

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Quote of the Day: Abraham Lincoln and his Religiosity

 

Lincoln grew into an intensely religious man, although we rarely hear him described in those terms nowadays. His religious faith became fundamental to his thinking and decision-making during the Civil War; we rarely hear that either. When he assumed the enormous burden of the presidency with war approaching, his faith grew deeper. When his beloved young son Willie died in early 1862, it deepened again—and seemed to continue growing deeper until his death. In the end Lincoln should almost certainly be remembered as the most important religious figure America has ever produced. I don’t mean he was a theologian. But Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah weren’t theologians either.

– David Gelernter, The Fourth Great Western Religion

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I have a really hard time figuring this political pundit. I’ll let these two linked articles describe why. Evangelicals Are Supporting Trump Out of Fear, Not Faith https://stream.org/david-vichy-french-wants-christians-to-surrender/ I don’t consider myself in the ranks of Evangelicals. I’m also reluctant to use fear as the alleged motivation for opposing Hillary Clinton. Can Ricochet members offer […]

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Quote of the Day: Sage Advice

 

“Endless, vertiginous self-examination leads not only to a sterile moral life, but to a stilted intellectual life. Yes, examine if you must. But do it with dispatch and modesty and then get on with it. The dictum for this age should not be that the unexamined life is not worth living, but rather that the un-lived life is not worth examining. So go out and live: Act and go and seek and do. Save the psychic impact report, the memoirs and the motives for later. There will be time enough.”

– Charles Krauthammer, The Point of It All, “Three Pieces of Sage Advice,” pg. 128.

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A Philosophy of Werewolves

 

One of these days, I keep telling myself, I will write the quintessential werewolf story.

There are quintessential tales for golems (Frankenstein) and vampires (Dracula) because those stories offer more than mere entertainment. They dig into the darker side of human nature not just for cheap scares but to make us reflect on pride, lust, and daring.

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Some of you will be familiar, through previous posts, with the mess that is the Unitarian Universalist Denomination these days. This is a link to a Kindle book of three essays. I’m buying a whole bunch of copies (despite not having a Kindle to read it on!) to support the author, UU Minister Todd Eklof, […]

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The Anatomy of Disruption

 

I’ve been doing some thinking recently about the life cycle of industries. “Industries” in this context means anything that you can make a living at. If you have an idea, a new idea, something that will genuinely change the world, what happens with it? It seems to follow the old adage about every political cause (probably because political causes qualify as industries in this regard.) Let’s take a walk through it:

It Begins as a Movement

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God Thought for the Day

 

We live in kinship with the Holy Spirit, who comforts us and quietly guides us through our day. Christ’s sacrifice, and our faith in it, makes our kinship possible. In that kinship, our yoke is easy and our burden light. The trick is to carry the burden and in the same direction, for the same purposes, as the spirit. How to do that? Listening is required, but that is challenging due to the Lord’s soft and still voice.

Our load is also lightened by letting go of our painful past. We ask forgiveness, we give up on grievances done to us in past times. Christ accepts these things from us and releases us from carrying them – if we choose to do so. Its the ‘choosing’ God is patiently waiting for. A sort of surrender to pure goodness. A will to release your will of its burdens.

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Is the Pope Catholic? Or, is he a Gaiaist?

 

It used to be that a witty way to say “yes” was to instead answer “Is the Pope Catholic?”. Funny stuff, because there was nothing more certain than that. But after Friday’s speech on global warming, I am really starting to wonder.

Global warming alarmism is a religion. It has a deity (Gaia); it has a shared collection of transcendental beliefs; it has an apocalyptic end-times story; and it has many fervent believers, converts, and adherents. It also has non-believers (skeptics) and heretics (deniers) that are condemned by the virtuous. “Don’t you believe in climate change?” is how they challenge outsiders.

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Mark Hemingway is back to help Aaron break down the recent intramural Conservative debate between First Things and National Review, a debate that apparently everyone else wanted to have also. It started with this piece by Sohrab Ahmari and then mushroom clouded over the entire internet. Mark pointed out that this is really a continuation […]

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Member Post

 

Yesterday in the Catholic Church we celebrated the Solemnity of Pentecost, the great feast day whereby the Holy Spirit descended upon the Church. During the psalm, we sang, Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. We sang the Sequence by starting, Veni, Sancte Spiritus – Come, Holy Spirit. And during […]

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Member Post

 

This week’s two-part episode features Power Line’s own Scott Johnson reporting on the verdict today in the Mohammed Noor case—the Minneapolis police officer who was convicted last month for murder in the shooting of Justine Damond. Then we shift focus dramatically, talking with Prof. Joshua Dunn of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and […]

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Member Post

 

…or is it? So very many things are named miracles – birth, for example – that we have robbed the word of its’ power. (“Miracle Whip”??). Seems to me that if everything’s a miracle then nothing’s a miracle. My understanding of “miracle” goes beyond merely being something I can’t explain, beyond being something nobody can […]

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How Liberal Was Liberalism

 

Every year, I have two encounters with John Locke. The first comes when I go to the American Political Science Association, where I try to understand the arguments of the hardcore political philosophers brought in by Claremont and Institute for Humane Studies, and so on. The second comes about a month later when I teach the Founding to a group of Freshmen at my university. A point I try to drive home to my students, and which, given the recent discussions regarding Sohrab Ahmari around here, is relevant to Ricochet, is that the world of 17th Century England, and especially the Civil War and the Glorious Revolution, doesn’t look much like the United States of today, and that properly understanding Locke and Montesquieu requires thinking in terms they would have known.

At APSA, there’s always a debate between the philosophers between three basic positions. Position one is the view that Locke is an individualist radical who intended to completely up-end society. However, given that he was writing in 1688, he couldn’t rightly say that, so the message is hidden in the text. This is the dominant Straussian position. Position 2 is the “Built Better than He Knew” position, which is similarly related to the same named position on the Founders held by, for example, Harry Jaffa. In this telling, Locke was trying to justify the Glorious Revolution, but he -and later Adam Smith -actually had found a better way to place civil government and civil society to produce a virtuous and free nation.

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The Dollar Almighty and a Crisis of Faith

 

This week an Inside Edition video interviewing Kenneth Copeland went viral as part of a disturbing investigation of televangelists living upscale lifestyles. Copeland, and others, are part of a movement from decades ago, preaching a prosperity “gospel,” offering false teachings, and thus, false promises, which have caused many followers heartache mentally, financially, and in their faith. 

We hear stories and jokes all of the time about the crazy cat lady that leaves the entirety of her estate to one of these ministries (see, this clip from the 1997 movie The Rainmaker). However, there is a scary truth to this example, in that the message is solely that prosperity is the only way to God, and if one is suffering, that means Satan is in charge.

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Member Post

 

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan deciding not to launch a GOP challenge to President Trump in 2020. They also examine Jim’s research into the staggering amount of corruption non-profit groups on the right are committing in the name of supposedly helping conservative candidates. Finally, […]

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